There are two recurring challenges that impact a hybrid employee’s productivity: “Searching for an available workspace at the beginning of the day, coupled with difficulties in connecting their laptop brought from home,” explains Brad Hintze, executive vice president of global marketing at Crestron. “This leads to an unproductive and frustrating start to the work day.”
According to Crestron’s Tackling the Modern Workplace by the Numbers report, over half of the workspaces available to surveyed employees are inadequately equipped for full hybrid engagement. And 60 per cent of respondents said that they cannot effectively see and engage with either in-room or remote participants.
These factors can impact productivity and, ultimately, employee retention. But Crestron believes it has the answer. “We work with Microsoft to develop products that seamlessly integrate with Microsoft Teams solutions, addressing the challenges of modern work,” says Hintze. Crestron defines ‘modern work’ as work practices based around flexible work patterns and supported by digital technology, with a focus on three key elements: remote collaboration, in-person collaboration, and scaling up these patterns across the organisation.
“Crestron has been a leader in room-scheduling technology for years and we are applying that knowledge to our desk scheduling solutions to tackle the challenges of modern work,” says Hintze. “These solutions fulfil the critical need to help employees find, or schedule, a workspace when they are working in the office.”
Crestron’s Desk Touch and Desk Q solutions empower businesses to provide hot-desking spaces, making them fully schedulable workstations. “Desk Touch caters to high-end executive spaces, while Desk Q is a cost-effective solution built to be deployed at scale,” explains Hintze. “Both products supply organisations and their employees with the necessary data to quickly find a workspace and let IT teams know what spaces are being used when.”
Crestron has also launched its AirMedia Connect Adaptor, which is designed for employees connecting their personal devices to office systems, and is specifically tailored for Teams Rooms software. “It was evident that organisations required a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) system that could seamlessly enable content and presentations,” says Hintze. “This adaptor allows for BYOD connectivity with a single touch without the need for additional applications or software downloads, enhancing meeting productivity in any environment.”
With 84 per cent of employees regularly having at least one remote participant in their meetings, according to the Creston report, businesses are now more inclined to invest in products that ensure equitable meeting experiences for all participants.
“The concept of ‘equal pixel real estate’ has been top of mind at Crestron and we are leveraging our intelligent video solutions to ensure that everyone sees and can be seen in every meeting, whether they are joining as an in-person or remote collaborator,” says Hintze. “Our Sightline solution is a terrific example of that concept.”
The Crestron Sightline Experience combines Crestron Flex video conferencing, DigitalMedia content distribution, and control and management platforms, to form an inclusive and scalable ecosystem. It incorporates a multi-camera automated switching system, powered by artificial intelligence, to ensure the focus is on whoever is speaking at any given time.
“Intelligent video solutions track various speakers during a meeting, switching from contributor to contributor as they talk and framing them on the screen in the same manner as an online meeting attendee,” says Hintze. “That allows a remote collaborator to see everyone’s nonverbal cues and reactions as a meeting progresses. Those cues are vitally important. The ‘view down a bowling alley’ that one gets with a single camera affixed to one wall of a conference room leads to meeting fatigue and disengagement.”
So, what steps can businesses take to ensure they are ready for hybrid work? “It begins with evaluating their positions,” says Hintze. “Beyond that, recognising that many rooms of all sizes require connectivity is likely step two. From there, other practical considerations come into play. For instance, businesses can consider semi-circular conference tables that face a camera and display setup on the longer wall of a conference room. There are simple measures that enhance sightlines for both in-person and virtual collaborators, contributing to sustained attendee engagement.”
This article was originally published in the Autumn 2023 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription